Top Manager: Electric cars are the future – on one condition

Deepak Gupta January 28, 2022
Updated 2022/01/28 at 9:21 AM

Wolfgang Reitzle has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Continental AG since 2009. Over the past decades, the company has developed from a simple tire manufacturer into an important automotive supplier. Therefore, the mobility turnaround is towards alternative drives and electric cars not past the group. Reitzle therefore still sees a rocky road ahead of him – which could be made easier by the traffic light coalition.

Electric cars in Germany

In an interview with Manager Magazin, the entrepreneur criticizes. He sometimes addresses bogus subsidies for electric cars, but also highlights the opportunities that can come with new technologies. In addition, he describes his plan for Continental AG to survive the current situation.

Reitzle noticed a locational disadvantage in many areas. After all, the companies in the automotive industry would pay “very high wages and energy costs”, while the state would benefit from high corporate taxes. “Our infrastructure is still good, but slowly deteriorating,” states the manager. It is important that “thinking blocks such as data protection or genetic engineering disappear”.

Hope through traffic light coalition?

There are already good approaches to reducing the locational disadvantage in Germany. Reitzle hopes in particular for the traffic light coalition. “There are enough politicians in the SPD and especially in the FDP who are fresh and future-oriented in their approach to such a coalition,” he said in an interview. The entrepreneur also expects enough awareness of reality from the Greens not to “permanently subsidize electric cars with billions” if they are not intended to make a contribution to the climate balance.

“Companies have to sell a lot of electric cars because otherwise they will not meet the CO₂ targets that have been deliberately set by politicians. But these cars have disadvantages in terms of range, there are not enough charging stations, and for many customers they are not suitable for everyday use. And as long as German electricity is so CO₂-heavy, they won’t help the climate either.”

Wolfgang Reitzle (via Manager Magazin)

Wolfgang Reitzle also attributes the high sales figures for electric cars in 2021 to political subsidies. After all, the state subsidizes the vehicles with up to 6,000 euros. “Including tax benefits, this means a subsidy of around 20,000 euros over the term,” he calculates.

“The future of the car is electric”

Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares recently drew attention to the current political problems in connection with the mobility turnaround. He doesn’t necessarily see electric cars as the solution to reducing emissions – but he does see new risks. Reitzle doesn’t quite go along with that, but rather agrees with the expectations of VW CEO Herbert Diess.

“The future of the car is electric, Mr. Diess is right: battery-electric for cars, with fuel cells for heavy trucks and long-distance journeys. In this respect, work on e-mobility must be accelerated. But there will be a long transition period. Wanting to shorten this extremely will damage Germany as a business location.”

Wolfgang Reitzle (via Manager Magazin)

Source: Manager Magazine

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